Network widens between German Hezbollah center and Lebanon
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The Hezbollah center and mosque in Germany that boasted about its pride in terrorism has a broad network of Hezbollah friends and supporters in Lebanon and in the federal republic, raising questions about German Angela Merkel’s tolerance of an antisemitic terrorist organization.
After The Jerusalem Post received a tip about pro-terrorism activities on the website of the Islamic Center (Imam-Mahdi-Zentrum) in Münster, the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an independent, nonpartisan press-monitoring organization, revealed last week a video from the Hezbollah center stating:” We Are Accused of Terrorism and Are Proud of It.”
A MEMRI spokesperson told the Post on Monday that “Some of those who frequent the mosque express open support for Hezbollah on their Facebook pages – they post photographs of martyrs, of [Hassan] Nasrallah, of Hezbollah flags, etc. These people, who remain in contact with their families in Lebanon, some of whom even visit there frequently, are ‘Facebook friends’ with Hezbollah supporters.”
When asked if the German Interior Ministry (BMI) plans to outlaw Hezbollah in Germany, Steve Alter, a spokesman for the ministry, wrote the Post by email: “I can inform you that the BMI, in principle, does not comment on any prohibition considerations.” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has consistently refused to crackdown on Hezbollah ‘s operations in Germany.
In July, the Post reported an increase of Hezbollah members in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Münster is located. According to an intelligence document reviewed by the Post, the number of Hezbollah members climbed from 105 in 2017 to 110 in 2018 in North Rhine-Westphalia. Also in July, the intelligence agency for the city of Hamburg reported that 30 mosques and cultural centers in Germany have ties to the US-classified terrorist organization Hezbollah.
“In Germany, there are currently about 30 known cultural and mosque associations in which a clientele regularly meets that is close to Hezbollah or its ideology,” the agency wrote.
Volker Beck, the Green Party politician, called Sunday on the Merkel administration to ban all of Hezbollah in Germany. Beck wrote on Twitter that “While Israel opens its [bomb] shelters in the north of Israel, Heiko Maas Ministry of Foreign Affairs & @der_seehofer [Horst Seehofer] @BMI_Bund could forbid the attacking terrorist organization Hezbollah because of state of reason and security of Israel & so. Heiko Maas, acts not words are consequential.”
The German government has merely banned Hezbollah’s so-called military wing in Germany. According to German intelligence reports reviewed by the Post, 1,050 Hezbollah members and supporters operate in the country. The Hezbollah supporter and members raise funds for Hezbollah in Lebanon, recruit new members and spread jihadi and antisemitic ideologies. Beck also urged the Islamic institute of the Berlin-based Humboldt University to exclude the umbrella organization the Shi’ite communities of Germany (IGS) from its institute.
The Islamic center in Münster is a member of the IGS. “The IGS belongs neither on the advisory board of the Islam Institute of the Humboldt University nor at the coffee table of the Federal President. Anyone who misuses a free, democratic society for the mullahs’ agenda cannot be a partner,” wrote Beck on Twitter. The Arab Leagues, the Netherlands, the US, Britain, Israel and Canada all designate Hezbollah’s entire organization a terrorist entity.